A little guide for foreigners willing to book a Cab in Paris
In Paris, there are two types of vehicles allowed to carry people in a "taxi-like" service :
- Taxis are the French equivalent of NewYork's yellow taxis or London's black cabs. They do not have a distinct color as per in those two cities, but can be recognized thanks to the taxi sign on top of the car
- "VTC" (stands for Véhicule de Tourisme avec Chauffeur) are the equivalent of Uber, Lyft or Addison Lee minicabs. They do not have a distinct sign as taxis, but the must hold a licence to operate as private drivers. This licence must be visible on the windshield.
There are c. 18 000 taxis and 25 000 VTC in Paris and suburban area. As a client, you can order a Taxi or a VTC if you require a ride.
Taxi roof sign color and letter will indicate availability and price (see below)
Private drivers must hold such a licence to operate
There are around 18 000 taxi drivers in Paris. For many years, taxis have enjoyed a monopoly on passenger transport. Taxis as we know them came into being in 1937, with the introduction of a numerus clausus and the introduction of regulated prices.
Indeed, unlike the VTC, taxi prices are decided by the state via a prefectural order. In the vehicle, it is the horokilometric meter that determines the price of the ride :
In Paris, you can simply hail a cab. This is the most convenient way. Just find a taxi with a green roof sign and hail it !
Once in the car, ask the driver to put the meter on (be firm about it). The meter looks like a taxi meter, a specific device fixed on the car dashboard. If the meter is an app on the driver's phone, beware, this can be a scam for tourists.
There are fixed price for airports. Between Roissy and Paris it costs €50-€55, and between Orly and Paris it costs between €30 and €35.
Second option, you can order a cab thanks to a taxi app. Please be aware that additional cost may incur for approach (between €4 and €7 in Paris, more in suburb). In Paris, the mot popular app for Taxis is G7.
Unlike VTC, taxis can be hailed in the street in Paris like almost anywhere in the world. Nevertheless, one should look at the Taxi roof sign before hailing a cab. Basically : the roof signs provides two informations : Price, and availability.
The four letters below the sign gives you the price of the ride. Basically, taxi prices depend on the time of the day and the day of the week. In Paris, there are 3 prices :
Letter A : €1.06/km + 32,10 €/h when iddle. This is the cheapest price, usually from monday to friday between 7am and 7pm.
Letter B : €1,32/km + 39,02 €/h when iddle. This is the intermediary price, usually from monday to friday before 7am and after 7pm.
Letter C : €1,56/km + 35,80 €/h when iddle. This price applies on sundays or public holiday.
So before getting in the car, check the sign on the roof : it indicates the current price.
This one is easy : if the roof sign is green, the taxi is available and you can hail it. If it is red, then somebody is already in the car or the taxi is on his way to pickup a customer.
Beware no taxi is allowed to pickup clients in immediate vicinity of stations or airports. There is a queue for that. If you hail a cab in front of a station, it will not stop.
You may want to know whether it is cheaper to order an Uber or to hail a regular cab. Both have changing prices, here is a very simple (yet approximate) tip to determine which one is the cheapest :
Taxi with A letter Price = Uber with no surge pricing
Taxi with B letter Price = Uber with 1.25 surge pricing
Taxi with C letter Price = Uber with 1.5 surge pricing
So just remind taking an Uber or a regular cab in then street (no pre booked) costs roughly the same price when both are at the lowest price.
In Paris there are three ways to find a cab :